KIEV, Ukraine, April 14 (UPI) — Volodymyr Groysman was appointed Ukraine’s new prime minister Thursday, promising to reform the Ukrainian economy and combat corruption.
The 250-50 vote in the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament, also approved the resignation of former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose administration suffered the departure of reform-minded ministers, accusations of graft and the delays of promised International Monetary Fund bailout loans because the government moved too slowly to address improvements.
Groysman, who leaves his position as parliament speaker to become prime minister, is a close ally of President Petro Poroshenko, and critics have suggested his election will further consolidate power and do little to combat corruption. A member of Groysman’s own political party, Serhiy Leschchenko, opposed Groysman’s elevation to prime minister and suggested his support in the parliament comes from legislators loyal to wealthy businessmen in Ukraine, a veiled hint at cronyism and backroom deal-making.
Ukraine, since its pro-Russia government was overthrown in 2012, has faced economic hardship, the threat of interruption in its natural gas supplies from Russia, rebellion in its eastern provinces and a delay in progress toward becoming a member of both NATO and the European Union.
Commenting prior to Thursday’s vote, Groysman said, “I understand the threats facing us. In particular I would like to highlight three threats: corruption, ineffective governance and populism, which do not pose less of a threat than the enemy in eastern Ukraine.”